Madison Originals Magazine Madison Originals Magazine February 2012 - Page 29 | 29 Park spurred rapid growth in the local popularity of the public park idea, and in the early 1900s, William F. Vilas and Thomas E. Brittingham followed suit by providing similar donations to create public parks in their family names.8 Over time, some aspects of the park’s original design shifted, including the addition of playing elds, more footbridges, and the Tenney Park Shelter. The shelter, which was built in 1958 and has been heavily used in the decades since, was demolished a couple of years ago to make way for a new community space. It wasn’t the City that initiated this process, however. Instead, the design, fundraising, and public support for the new construction has been a labor of love for those who have long been neighbors to, and frequenters of, the park. Just ask Mary Lang Sollinger, chair of the Tenney Park Shelter Group. Initially, says Mary, “it was on the slates for the City Parks Department to renovate it. It was very heavily used, and it was just one of the facilities that needed to be updated or rebuilt. Also, the needs of the community were changing.” When the group started looking into it, they discovered a greater-than-expected demand for spaces to hold weddings, reunions, neighborhood meetings, and potlucks. “There was a real need for a community space. It made sense to build rather than just to duplicate By Erin Abler something that was there for the past 50, 60 years.” Why did the shelter fall into disrepair? “I’ve been living in this neighborhood for 30 years,” Mary says, “and any building over time shows its wear and tear. The bathrooms were a tough Farm-to-table fine dining on the Capitol Square 1 South Pinckney Street 608.251.0500